New Zealand all-rounder Grant Elliot picked up three wickets in his first Pakistan Super League (PSL) outing to help Quetta Gladiators get back to winning ways and go top of the table as they beat Islamabad United by seven wickets here at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday night.
The Gladiators now have eight points from five matches with four victories. Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed had a good outing both with the gloves and the bat as he registered two victims and took his team home with an unbeaten half-century.
After being thrashed by Lahore Qalandars, Gladiators — who won the toss and opted to field first — dropped Umar Gul and Elton Chigumbura for Aizaz Cheema and Elliot respectively.
Islamabad could not cash upon a pretty good start of 54 for one in six overs provided by Shane Watson as they were bowled out for 117 with five balls to spare. Watson made 40 off 28 hitting three sixes and as many fours while Imran Khalid made run-a-ball 18.
Elliot, who had flown all the way from New Zealand just a day before the game, conceded 25 runs off his four overs for his three scalps while Zulfiqar Babar and Cheema got wickets each as Sarfaraz rotated his bowlers cleverly. Elliot, who was named man of the match, said:
“The ball was gripping tonight and it really helped me out. It’s nice to have a good start in the PSL and hopefully we’ll continue doing better as a unit. I’ve been working on my bowling for last couple of months and so far it has paid off. The condition suits me perfectly though I’ve not played too much cricket in sub-continent.”
Chasing a modest target of 118, Gladiators were rocked for a brief period when Luke Wright and Kevin Pietersen were dismissed in space of two balls by Andre Russell to leave them at 14 for two. Ahmad Shahzad and Sarfaraz combined for a 59-run third-wicket stand with Ahmad doing most of the damage before getting out to Russell on personal score of 41 which included a six and five boundaries.
Sarfaraz — made a 39-ball 51 studded with six boundaries — eventually guided his team home as they finished with 118 for three after 16.1 overs. Mohammad Nawaz, who picked up a wicket earlier, added 14 runs to his tally.